This season, LD and her motley crew have tested the boundaries of the gals-in-the-city genre: we’ve seen elements of family drama, buddy comedy, and horror (yes, I’m still having Q-Tip nightmares). This episode, we go full-on rom-com. Where’s Shane West when you need him? (Hint: not here.)
“I can like your cock and not be a whore.”
I’m loath to re-open the box of shittiness that was last week’s episode, but I feel compelled to address it. After much conversation and thought, I still feel that what went down between Adam and Natalia was assault. It was non-consensual and happened with blatant disregard for how comfortable or safe she was feeling. She was up-front and specific about her sexual preferences and needs, and Adam was, in theory, on board: “I like how clear you are with me.” But a ‘yes’ to sex is not a ‘yes’ to everything under the sun, and if he had taken just one second to feel out where she was physically and emotionally during the scene in question, he would have known that.
I called it rape because that scene was unquestionably a product of pro-rape culture. We live in a world that shames women for consenting and finding pleasure as much as it shames women who don’t consent and demand justice. I’m hesitant to use the term ‘grey-area’ because it separates those many violating, confusing, and not-okay sexual experiences from so-called ‘legitimate’ rapes. But grey areas exist.
If that happened to me, I would unquestionably feel that something really wrong had been done. It appears that Natalia didn’t interpret it the same way, because she’s still allowing Adam access to her vagina—but asserting herself like a bawse. Adam doesn’t look happy about this arrangement.
Marnie and Charlie finally settle down.
Charlie and Marnie are having excellent sex! Whoo! The inevitable downside: Marnie thinks it’s marriage-track sex and Charlie isn’t on the same page. They have a big blowup over brunch; Charlie chases after her. (When isn’t Charlie chasing after her?) Marnie confesses that she wants to settle down. Charlie, shockingly, reciprocates.
“I just want you to know that I don’t love you for your money. I don’t,” she bleats. “Because I don’t even know how much you have.”
Flag on the PLAY! When Charlie kissed her on the rooftop mere episodes ago, with the Manhattan skyline in the background and the wind and hormones rushing through her hair, she throws him over for a guy who’s worth more. Money has everything to do with it, because Marnie craves the rush of leveling up. She wants—nay, needs—to be wanted by someone with higher economic/social/cultural value.
I don’t think she’s being a manipulative leech, either—I think this glomming-on comes from a place of profound insecurity. It is straight-up dehumanizing to be a hostess at a cocktail bar, and doubly so if you’ve always been the Girl Who Has It Together. When she’s at her worst, she needs a partner who’s at their best. They look happy, but I don’t think it’s sustainable. Projecting a permanent breakup next season.
“I can’t be the only thing you like!”
There’s one loose end that this episode couldn’t manageably tie: after three episodes of hemming and hawing, Shosh and Ray finally go down in flames. Turns out that managing another Grumpy’s in a “classier” neighborhood isn’t enough to keep Shoshanna interested.
Shosh is no longer the gawky people-pleaser who coveted the shit out of her friends—now she’s going to parties by herself, telling men what she wants, rocking some bonkers-ass hairstyles, and making out with doormen and tall Nordic lads. “I can’t be surrounded by your negativity while I’m trying to grow into a fully formed human,” saith Shosh. “Maybe I’ll be better at handling your black soul when I’m older, but I can’t handle it now.” WORD.
Adam takes a sledgehammer to the bizarre boat/boardwalk situation he’s built in his apartment—the one that Natalia thought was creepy and dirty. “Fuck her,” he screams as he smashes it apart. BUT WHO?! He built the creepy boat thing to distract himself from the breakup with Hannah, but Natalia’s the one who wants him to tear it down. Mysteries.
The Horvath stands alone.
She’s been wearing the same shirt for a week. Her book editor thinks she’s lazy. Her father refuses to lend her the money to re-pay her book advance. Marnie’s living in another dimension, Shosh doesn’t get it, and nobody can find Jessa. To top it all off, Laird—sweet, strung-out Laird from the epic cocaine-fueled night with Elijah—thinks she’s self-centered and rotten.
She’s burned every bridge there is to burn. So she does what we all know she was going to do: she cuts off all her hair and calls Adam.
Adam, suddenly aware of how bad things are going for Hannah, sprints to her apartment to do damage control, FaceTiming-her all the way. The music swelled. My heart went pitter-patter. I maybe even cried some Grinch tears. “I was always here”? I mean, COME ON. WAAAAAAH.
And there we are! So many poor hair choices and terrible boys—and I just wanna give a shout-out to the “black Republican” conversation way back at the beginning of the season for being the most cringey thing I’ve ever seen on television, ever.
This season made me crazy, to be sure, but I can’t wait for the madness to begin anew. (Two extra episodes next year, y’all!) Here’s to never, ever , ever getting it together—whatever the billboards might say.
All images via HBOgo.com